Saturday, August 19, 2006

Drunken Bards



Shakespeare is a drunken savage with some imagination whose plays please only in London and Canada.

--Francois-Marie Arouet Voltaire

There was at least one drunken bard roaming about in Tai's neighbourhood last night. Perhaps two or more.

I opened my eyes blearily at five minutes past three this morning and listened to the rich baritone voices echoing theatrically off the nearby eaves. The owners of the voices were quite obviously sodden with drink but nonetheless great long Shakespearean passages tumbled easily from their lips.

I reflected that if you had to have drunken people shouting in the streets below, it is better if they shout poetry rather than epithets, although of course the works of Shakespeare contain plenty of those too.

My friend had also woken up. "It's Hamlet", she said sleepily. "It's Hamlet talking to Ophelia...."

I didn't recognize the passage but continued to listen, hovering on the edge of sleep.

Then I heard in booming stage-tones something to the effect of : "Behold! A stone in my hand! shalt I throw it?"

I leapt out of bed and hurried to the window. I had no idea if that was a quote from Shakespeare but they better not be standing near my car if they were considering in verse whether or not to heave rocks at my car!

Alas, I couldn't see them. Whoever it was, they were invisibly projecting their voices mightily through the still summer air. I wondered briefly if they were stumbling about in doublet and hose, and then fell back to sleep.

Actually I'm off to the Shakespeare Festival this evening. But it started well and early for me today. Oh yeah, and Happy Birthday to me! :)

13 comments:

blackcrag said...

I got my wish!

In my wanderings around Calgary I stumbled upon Shakespeare in the Park, a production put on by one of the local colleges.

Romeo and Juliet one night, Two Gentlemen of Verona the next. I really enjoyed Two Gentlemen. No beach unfortunately, it was held in natural grassy amphitheatre.

Enjoy your bardish treat, and happy birthday, Spider!

You really can't rust those Elizabethean-speaking thugs... they're a tricksy bunch to be sure.

But then, when I left the plays each night, I had iambic pentameter running rampant in my head too. It's infectious!

kimber the wolfgrrrl said...

First: Happy Birthday! I hope it's filled with joyful adventures!

Second: There's a drunken old sod who rides the Kitsilano bus, who belts out operatic scores at any young woman nearby. I have thrice been the unwitting audience for his baritone -- he's quite good, obviously trained, but absolutely pissed. If you're scooting around by bus today, on your way to Bard on the Beach or Burgoos or wherever Tai might lead you, keep an eye open for this fellow. He's great. Loud, stinky, and drooly, but a pleasure to hear.

Thirdly: Have a smashing time at Bard. Not smashing in the sense of "rock hurled at vehicle", but "jolly good pip pip" sort of smashing. :)

Dagoth said...

Hi Spider

I see you got your "fabulous birthday present". I hope you have a wonderful time and a wonderful birthday as well. If you happen to get a little "Sodden with drink" yourself who could blame you...

Anonymous said...

Therefore I tell my sorrows to the stones,
Who, though they cannot answer my distress,
Yet in some sort they are better than the tribunes,
For that they will not intercept my tale.
When I do weep, they humbly at my feet
Receive my tears, and seem to weep with me;
And, were they but attired in grave weeds,
Rome could afford no tribune like to these.
A stone is soft as wax, tribunes more hard than stones;
A stone is silent, and offendeth not,
And tribunes with their tongues doom men to death.
(Titus Andronicus)

Nay, but didst I have a stone to hand,
Heartily wouldst be flung to thy feet
That thou, sweet beauty, might rise above the filth of the common street by its small rise;
And shouldst that be little, yet would this poor knave gather more that thy dainty foot should ne'er find itself sully'ed.
(Carlo di Fabio, me)

gnightgirl said...

Another great entry; I felt like I was there. That your friend woke up on the same pages as you (and the Shakespeare-spewing bards) made me smile, and your leaping out of bed produced a guffaw on my part. Yes. I guffaw'ed.

Modern Viking said...

Ahhhhh, funny :) Even vandalism sounds poetic in Shakespearean English.

NMOTB said...

Happy birthday to you! oh my greatness, the things people get up to when alchol takes over!!!!

CiscoKid said...

I recently caught Hamlet at a Shkespeare Festival in Utah.
I had never seen it before and it was a rather enjoyable experience..

Kayla said...

Belated Happy Birthday!
Hope the festival was a blast

Pol* said...

Well, if you have to be awoken at an early hour, it's a good way.

now I need to read some poetry!

Hope your birthday was all good. I am looking forward to seeing you this weekend!

[Mat] said...

Voltaire, that's pretty close to my last name.

Thought provoking, for sure.

cheers

nicki said...

happy birthday to you :)

Zambo said...

Happy belated birthday, Spider Girl!